Let Us Begin

Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today.

Me: Alison, Ali, Momma

Me: Alison, Ali, Momma

Anyone who has spent any amount of time with me knows that I have a tendency to be passionate about a lot of things, nothing more than my Catholic faith and love of the Lord.  Walking with Jesus has taken me places I never dreamed of from the Franciscan University of Steubenville where I majored in Theology and Catechetics to mission work in Jamaica, Thailand, China and Belize. (You can read about my adventures in Central America on my first venture into the blogisphere here.)

A lot has happened since my days as missionali.  I followed Johnny into the desert of Arizona where I have been working full-time as the RCIA director at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church for the past six years.  It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of the conversion process for those seeking Jesus in His Church and to witness the healing and transformation of hearts through the sacraments.  I am also a Creighton Model FertilityCare Practitioner.  It is an exciting work to build the culture of life and offer couples groundbreaking alternatives to artificial reproductive technologies.

Second only to God is my fabulous vocation as a wife to the love-of-my-life and mother of my precious boys.  There is a lot going on these days but home is definitely and always where my heart is.  My family is my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  If things go the way it looks now, I could be the mother of more soon and very soon.  I have no doubt that the best is yet to come.

Jesus, I trust in You!


No Comments »

Peaches for me {a mother’s day tradition}

Peaches just so happen to be perfectly ripe and ready to pick just in time for mother’s day…

and so our peach picking mother’s day tradition began the first year I had a baby on the outside (2009) and I look forward to it every year.  There is just nothing quite like a warm, juicy peach right off of the tree … yummmmmm!

Since he has been going since he was a baby, Jack is a pro and wanted to pick all of my peaches for me.  He assured me that he was the “best peach picker” and knew the secret to finding the yummiest peaches.  As you can see, it was a job that he took very seriously.

“Wait, let me taste it first…  just to be sure … yup, it’s really yummy Mommy.  Trust me, you are going to love it”

He did eventually hand that peach over but only after eating half of it himself – only for the sake of quality control of course. :)

And then there is my Gabriel …

Baby boy must have polished off six peaches by himself, no joke.  He couldn’t get enough of them and kept pointing to the trees saying, “mmmmm, mmmmm, yummy, pease! pease! PEASE!!!”, each request more desperate than the last.  We couldn’t pick them fast enough for him.

By the end of the day he was covered in peach juice, sticky and sweet, stuffed and totally content.  It was his kind of morning for sure.

Of course I couldn’t let the opportunity pass without getting a close up of those CHEEKS!!!  ahhh, don’t you just want to squeeze him?

Soooo, this is the best picture we managed to pull off with the boys and me together.

It looks like Gabriel may have polished off one peach too many, you can still see fresh peach juice dripped down the front of my dress and Jack is in the process of explaining how he can squish that peach with his fingers so you know it is good and delectable.  (Yes, that was the word he used :)

Ahhh well, what can you do.  It is for all of those reasons precisely that I still love this picture.  It captures us in that moment and pretty much sums up our family as it is now.

  And then, as if all you can eat peaches weren’t enough, there was a mother’s day brunch to be had and enjoyed by all…

Fresh picked peaches over pancakes with cream?  Yes please!

(completely different compartment)

It was a great day with my boys.

Thank you Johnny.


And just for kicks, a final family shot down on the farm.

and one more of Jack just because it cracks me up every time I look at it.

(Cannot wait for Baby Girl to get in on the fun next year!)



A little bit country

Since I have many a back post yet to write and don’t seem to have the energy for anything too deep or meaningful tonight, I thought it might be nice to have a little change of pace around here …


Can I just say how much I LOVE Arizona springtime?

I don’t know if it is the ball games, absolutely gorgeous weather, the transition to flip flops and tee-shirts, long mornings at the park, rigging up the sprinkler and jumping on the trampoline with the boys, picking up stacks of books at the library in anticipation of summer reading, making lemonade and switching from hot coffee to iced, or maybe a combination of all of the above that brings out the kid in me and makes me feel downright giddy…

which may have something to do with the uncontrollable urge that seems to come over me when Arizona springtime takes over to crank the country radio station full blast and belt my love of “cold beer on a friday night and a pair of jeans that fits just right” out the open windows (and so I do).  Ha!


I seem to be fully embracing my inner country lately (which I’m totally fine with) but the thought has crossed my mind more than once that…


You might be a redneck

if when you get to the Cubs spring training game and realize that your 16 month old completely soaked his outfit on the drive over and you forgot to pack a single spare article of clothing, you strip him down to his diaper and carry him in all his hill billy glory what must be a mile to the stadium from your distant parking spot with cars beeping and waving all the way.  awesome.

We had no choice but to stop at one of the overpriced souvenir stands and outfit him from head to toe in baseball gear; Come to think of it, not a bad strategy on Gabriel’s part.

Although it was already Jack’s second spring training game of the season,  it was Gabriel’s first baseball game ever which helped to justify the splurge.

Gabriel loved every second of the whole experience and would clap, cheer and fist pump right along with the all of the shirtless fans getting thoroughly burned on the lawn.  He actually would have fit right in if we had skipped the ensemble.  go figure.

I think we have a fan on our hands…





You might be a redneck

if the kids really want to go to the splash pad but you have a better idea…

so you run by Walmart to buy the most powerful sprinkler you can find

and rig it up under your trampoline in the backyard so it shoots straight through the mat

…resulting in the best afternoon ever for your three year old

and making you the coolest mom in town (of the moment anyway).

I may not own a pair of cowboy boots

but I do have small town roots

and I am PROUD of it!







It was one of those moments of overwhelming sadness,

I loaded into the car with the boys and headed to the doctor’s office where I would be picking up a letter…

the letter that would validate the life and death of our baby and allow us to go downtown to vital records to process a death certificate and transit permit allowing us to bring her body to the cemetery for burial later that week.


I have to say that the Lord has been so near through all of this.

I have felt grace sustaining me in ways that brings me to my knees and know that the countless prayers of friends and family, not to mention the intercession of our babies and their patrons from heaven have upheld me.  The strength given has been tangible. (so much more on that I would like to share later)


But right then…

I just felt like I was going to crumble beneath the weight of it.


For some reason (I think it was honestly to try to tune out the noise coming from the backseats), I turned on the radio.  I never  listen to the radio in my car.  If I play anything, it’s a kids’ song CD for Jack.

At that moment, I turned on the radio to the local Christian station and the second I did (not a second after or 5 seconds before but as if cued to the very instant I pushed the on button), this song began to play…



I know it is oozes of sappy sweetness but I have to say that I love this song.  I really do.  Call me a hopeless romantic and that’s okay with me because here’s the thing, I know every word of it to be true.

Back when I was doing mission work in Belize, Matthew West’s “More” was on one of the few compilation CDs that I had brought with me and I played it over and over again.  I would sing it to myself as I went about my work and the truth of it’s message of love took root more and more deeply in my soul.

During that time in my life, I came to know God’s overwhelmingly extravagant love for me in the absolute core of my being.  It defined me and determined my days.  It was my joy and my strength, my motivation to persevere when I was far from everything familiar and longed for the comforts of home.


It’s been five years now since I returned to the States and I don’t think I have heard that song since.

Jesus was with me in the car the day after my Veronica went home

and His Sacred Heart ached with each and every tear that fell on my steering wheel.


In His love for me, God played me not just any song but our song.


You could say that as a wife and mother, now enduring the loss of a second child, my walk with the Lord is less “romantic” than it was on mission.  Here is the thing, the honeymoon may be over, but the assurance of His love for me has only grown stronger with time.

I remember hearing something similar during the homily at a friends’ wedding a few years back.  The priest said that his hope was that the couple would look back on their wedding day in the years to come and think that they hardly loved each other then.  At first it sounds like a crazy comment to make but I’m with him.  As head over heels in love as I was with my husband the day we said “I do”, it was nothing compared to what it is after living four years of life together – serving side by side in ministry, working our way through medical school, buying and remodeling our first home, four pregnancies, two births and two miscarriages later.


So it is with the Lord, He has been with me through it all and He has never failed me yet.

In the times I have faltered, He has forgiven me.  In the times I have cried out, He has come to my aid.  When I am falling under the weight of the cross and the pain temporarily blinds me to the reality of His presence within me, when the darkness of Good Friday and emptiness of Holy Saturday are all I can see and I weep with Mary at the empty tomb wondering where they have taken my Lord,

He sings love over me that turns my gaze heavenward and strengthens my weary spirit.


I hear the angels’ alleluia of resurrection and I breathe in their Easter Sunday proclamation:

God is victorious.  The power of death could not contain Him.  

Oh death, where is your sting now that the tomb is empty?  

Oh death, where is your victory now that Jesus lives?  

Alleluia – He is Risen! 


These are the reminders that echo into in my brokenness…

that even on the cross, God is good.

It is in our dying with Him that we rise to new life.


and He “wants me to know that He’s not letting go even when I come undone…”



Jesus loves me

more than I can fathom.



The Lord is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:18

1 Comment »